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This Week in Genome Biology: May 20, 2015

With the help of whole-genome sequencing, investigators from Singapore's National University Health System, and elsewhere took a look at population patterns in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains circulating in three Singapore hospitals. The team's analyses of more than 200 isolates collected between 2000 and 2010 — together with dozens of isolates collected in the 1980s and 1990s — pointed to enhanced genetic diversity in a MRSA sequence type called ST239 after 2007, even as levels of an epidemic MRSA with sequence type ST22 become more prominent in Singapore's healthcare system.

In a pair of Genome Biology studies, an international team explores genome features associated with sociality in bees. The researchers sequenced the genomes of two bumblebee species — the European buff-tailed bumblebee, Bombus terrestris, and the North American common eastern bumblebee, B. impatiens. By comparing the genomes to sequences from bees with more or less social lifestyles, the study's authors saw signs that sociality shifts may stem from many small changes in the genome rather than large-scale sequence expansions or changes in immune capabilities. GenomeWeb has more on the study and related research here.

Researchers from China, Denmark, and Saudi Arabia outline findings from a genome sequencing study of a Chinese goose breed. After putting together a 1.1 billion base genome of the goose Anser cygnoides, the team uncovered more than 16,000 predicted protein-coding genes, more than 150 microRNAs, and a proportion of repeat sequences that resembled several other sequenced birds. By comparing the newly sequenced waterfowl genomes with sequences from terrestrial birds, the study's authors uncovered genetic differences suspected of contributing to the goose's ability to thwart avian virus-related symptoms or fatty liver disease.